Guitar piece among orchestra's picks

Performance to feature `Contemporary Classics'

April 25, 2002|By Betsy Diehl | Betsy Diehl,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Think of an orchestra and it's not likely that a guitar will come to mind. But music aficionados are in for a rare treat this weekend, when the Columbia Orchestra teams up with award-winning guitarist Paul Moeller for a guitar concerto as part of the orchestra's final classical concert of the season, "Contemporary Classics."

The concerto, Concierto de Aranjuez by the late Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo, is one of three 20th-century compositions the orchestra will present Saturday evening at the Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School. The program also includes Leonard Bernstein's Slava! and Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird Suite.

"It's a celebration of the 20th century," said Jason Love, music director of the Columbia Orchestra. "They're such wonderful pieces. They've already become standards of the repertoire."

Some might consider the very title of the program, "Contemporary Classics," to be a contradiction in terms. "Many people were not enthusiastic about the music of the 20th century," Love said. But amid the nontraditional, sometimes bizarre, experimental sounds of the past century, there are indeed contemporary works that warrant the designation "classic," such as the three compositions Love selected for the program.

"The farther away you are from tradition, the harder it is for your music to be understood," Love said. "These works dispel the myth that all 20th-century music is hard to understand. They are easily understood even on the first hearing."

Love compares the compositions - especially Firebird, composed for a ballet in 1910 - to contemporary visual arts. "Stravinsky has some affinities with Picasso, and his earlier works," he said. The works are different and fresh, but what deems them classics, he said, are the "traditional elements that make their art very inviting. They are very accessible."

Information: 410-381-2004.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.